Dear Members and Friends,
My nine-year old son is very fond of a collection of books entitled “A Series of Unfortunate Events”. This is an apt description of the two big political events that have hit the trade finance market this year: Brexit and the Trump victory in the US presidential elections. But let’s not be too pessimistic; these are unfortunate rather than death-dealing, planet-exterminating events. Short-term indices and measures have held up relatively well although some might say this is placing a premium on the absence of an immediate descent into darkness. The risks to the UK economy because of Brexit have been well rehearsed but this is maybe more of a domestic than an international problem. The bullying of the trade community in the presidential campaign is more worrisome. Both candidates have criticised free trade agreements with Mrs. Clinton performing a volte-face on her position such was the US electorate’s antipathy to liberalising trade. Mr. Trump never wavered in his opposition to TPP and TTIP and his nationalist, protectionist noises appear to presage even greater threats to global trade as the US builds an even bigger wall to the rest of the world than the one planned with Mexico. But on Brexit, the need and desire to protect the UK’s trade position with Europe is well understood and will be fought very hard for. As for Mr. Trump, his vaunted commercial pragmatism may yet contradict some of the gloomier predictions. What if the calculation is that the US does benefit from free-ish trade? And what if his promised expansionist fiscal policies produce opportunities not just for the American blue-collar workers but for industry (and their workers) in the rest of the world? There will certainly be opportunities, although these may be harder to spot than before and require even more invention and creativity. But who’s better at that than you, our members?
These “unfortunate events” are a fitting background against which to launch what we anticipate will be a regular feature in this newsletter: our ‘Chart of the Month” contributed by Dr. Rebecca Harding of Equant Analytics. Attendees of our Warsaw conference will remember her impressive opening presentation. This month: “Why do Trade Finance Professionals need to worry about the price of Oil?’’
In other news, may I remind you that with the Christmas season just around the corner, the ITFA Board is pleased to invite ITFA members to attend our yearly seasonal gathering; the ITFA Christmas Cocktail Party. As previously communicated, we kindly ask all ITFA Main Delegates to RSVP by latest 25 November 2016 (the invite is for a maximum of 5 delegates per member institution). The event is being held at The Victorian Bath House, Bishopsgate, London on Monday 5th December 2016 at 18:30 hrs. To view the invite please click here. As always, we encourage our ITFA members to attend this valuable networking opportunity, so please…save the date (and don’t miss the unlimited bar)!
May we also take the opportunity, to inform ITFA members about the ITFA Insurance Presentation which will be delivered directly before the Christmas party. Admission to the presentation is at 15:30 hrs and will be held at Liberty Specialty Markets, 20 Fenchurch Street, London. Please RSVP by 25 November 2016.
In addition to our new feature, this edition of the Muse features an article by Robert Kowit of Federated Investors, on ‘’Trade Finance as a Financial Asset: Risks and Mitigants for non-bank Investors’’. Finally, we present a write-up following the ITFA SERC event held in Verona, Italy at the end of last month.
We look forward to hearing from you with any feedback you may want to share with us by sending an email to myself, any of the Board Members or to our general email, email@example.com.